Two entries that each finished as runner up, both beaten by Ireland, but which entry do people prefer, when Michael Ball and Sonia are compared against each other?
In Eurovision Battle we put two former Eurovision entries up against each other. They are songs with something significant in common which makes them worth a comparison. The Fan Panel members are asked to watch the videos for both songs before providing their opinion.
Now you may think that the songs are being compared to each other, because they both came second at the Eurovision Song Contest, and both were beaten by Ireland. While that is true, the reason we are comparing them is that both acts were chosen internally to represent The United Kingdom, after years of disappointing results. Both acts presented eight songs for the British public to choose which song would head to Eurovision.
In 1992 the BBC selected West End star, Michael Ball to represent the United Kingdom. The song One Step Out Of Time was chosen as the British entry. Michael headed to Malmö, Sweden and placed second with 139 points, to Linda Martin’s Irish entry, Why Me with 155 points.
Following the success of Michael Ball, the BBC used the same format in 1993, this time with singer Sonia. She headed to Millstreet, Ireland with Better The Devil You Know, Ireland, only to be beaten by Niamh Kavanagh with In Your Eyes, 187 to 164 points.
United Kingdom 1992 V United Kingdom 1993
In order to find out what Eurovision fans today think of these two entries, we asked our Eurovision Fan Panel. It includes team members as well as fans from all over the world.
Michael O. – I felt neither of the songs chosen were the best. I preferred As Dreams Go By for Michael, and A Little Love for Sonia. So both acts headed to Eurovision with slightly under par songs. Michael over did his performance, trying to lift the song higher than it deserved. Sonia was amazing, again with an under par song, but brought it to life. Both songs I like O.K ish, but not as good as our entries from the early seventies. Sonia of the two is my preference.
Charlotte J. – I have no idea what went on with Eurovision those years. Ireland winning and UK coming second – in both 1992 and 1993. Michael Ball’s One Step Out Of Time is fantastic. It was my winner that year. Listening to the songs again, I still think UK should have won.
Over the years, I have sort of learned to understand Niamh Kavanagh’s 1993 win, but Sonia’s second place is still a big mystery. Only because 1993 isn’t that strong a year, she just barely sneaks into the better half for me.
Amira M. – Its hard to compare between the two as they are both different in their own way. UK 1992’s Michael has a good voice but his performance was a bit stiff. As for UK 1993’s Sonia, she has a good voice, good performance, catchy song and great lyrics where this has been an easy winner. Overall I still like both songs.
Jill R. – I don’t think that either one of the songs are fantastic. I don’t even remember hearing One step out of time before, even though I must have. I didn´t forget Better the devil you know. It is a bit catchier and stands out more. I like Sonia´s show a little better. Both of them are good singers and really enjoy being on stage. They both stand on the same spot during the whole performance, but Sonia and her choir at least makes some dance moves (even if they remind me of school dances in the 80´s). Sonia´s costume is colourful but Michael looks pretty bland. Overall I think that Sonia with Better the devil you know is the winner.
Gunec G. – Sonia is a star for sure. And Better The Devil You Know is a classic. I like Michael’s One Step Out Of Time as well but if I have to choose it’s 1993 for sure.
Steve P. – Ah, the heady days when the UK finished in the top 5! Michael is one of the best male singers to grace the Eurovision stage, and Sonia gave a better performance than I expected, but it’s all about the song. Both are cheerful, uptempo toe-tappers, but I would listen to One Step Out of Time before Better the Devil You Know every time. My personal tastes heavily favour its more theatrical style and greater use of the orchestra over the pure pop of Sonia. Michael’s performance was world class, too.
Alvaro S. – Although I found both entries likeable UK’s 1993 is easier for me to associate it with the Eurovision Song Contest even if it actually looks more dated than One step out of time. Better the devil you know is one of the guilty pleasures that we as fans end up listening when we watch the past festivals and that makes a difference.
Kat H. – Wow – you couldn’t have given me a harder choice if you’d tried.
Michael Ball sung his heart out in 1992 only to be bettered by the first of Ireland’s 90’s dominant performers in Linda Martin. Sonia’s was one of the first Eurovision songs that I encountered as an 8 year old child, and there was no way she would beat the inimitable Niamh Kavanagh. Both (perhaps controversially to some) fall in my top 10 Eurovision songs ever, but after listening today and being FORCED to pick one, I’ll have to go with Sonia’s.
Alberte B. – I prefer 1993, because I think it’s more energetic and catchy. Both songs are really nice, but Sonia does it a little better, in my opinion.
Steinar M. – I think both songs definitely were better than the Irish winners. I prefer the 1992 song. I was a bit sceptical of it, as I don’t usually like musical singers that much. But it was a great modern pop/rock song. Very well sung. The 1993 entry is a bit cheesy, but at least bouncy and happy.
Michael Ball – a mini biography
Michael Ball was born on 27 June 1962. He made his stage debut in 1985 in Les Miserables. He then went on to star in Phantom Of The Opera and Aspects Of Love. In 1989, he made number 2 in the U.K. charts with Love Changes Everything. His debut album was released after One Step Out Of Time was picked as the U.K’s 1992 Eurovision entry. It topped the British charts in 1992. Surprisingly, Michael didn’t have another solo number one album again until 2019.
Michael has released 22 solo albums, and 4 chart toppers with Alfie Boe. He is one of the most successful entertainers in the U.K, in theatre, radio and television.
Michael was appointed Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in the 2015 Birthday Honours for his services to musical theatre.
Sonia – a mini biography
Sonia Evans was born on 13 February 1971. In 1989, she scored a number one single with You’ll Never Stop Me From Loving You. Her debut album, Everybody Knows, released in 1990 contained five Top 40 hits.
Her second album, Sonia, produced three more hits, before she was asked to represent the U.K at Eurovision. Better The Devil You Know reached number 15, and to date has been Sonia’s last Top 20 entry.
However, Sonia has gone on to star in the West End production of Grease. She has also starred in pantomime and remains a regular on British Television. Sonia and her husband, Mark have one daughter.